The day was cooler than it’s been, overcast, and a bit rainy. We began the day with breakfast on the terrace. Dan gave me my present after breakfast. He gave me a beautiful set of earrings with a matching pendant. He bought it in downtown Freiburg. It came in this really cute felt egg. It kind of looks like a Kinder Egg. Those are chocolate eggs with yellow plastic eggs inside. There’s a toy in the egg. I love them. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the same toy twice. Anyway, here is a picture of my gift, pre- and post-egg cracking.
For my birthday cake, we went to the local Penny Markt (kind of like Aldi, which is German) and bought a strawberry cream torte.
After lunch, we went to IKEA. Though our apartment was nearly fully stocked by the landlady, we still had some things to buy: a clock, trashcan, organizers, etc. Now, I’ve been to a few IKEAs, but I’ve never had the opportunity or reason to go in and buy several things. For those of you not familiar with IKEA, it’s a giant Swedish furniture store. They also have plants and every knick-knack you could possibly need for a home. The stuff is hip yet classic, and it’s also pretty cheap. We have them in America but only in big cities. It took us a bus, a streetcar, and another bus to get to IKEA from our village.
The trip to IKEA lasted most of the afternoon. We came back home and got ready to meet our friend Claudia for dinner in Freiburg. Claudia and Dan taught together at Purdue last year. She is from Germany and is back here working. She is a very kindred spirit (Anne of Green Gables and all). We had dinner with her at an American-style restuarant that played on the Cheers theme. You can see a pic of the tv show cast in one of the pictures below. Claudia gave me two books and a card game for my birthday. Claudia’s boyfriend, Bernadin, joined us later in the evening.
We attempted to catch the train into Gundelfingen at around 11, but we don’t quite have the arrival and departure times down pat. So, we missed it and had to wait an hour for the next train, which put us home very exhausted at around midnight.
There are certain habits and customs that you really have to adjust to with this kind of lifestyle. I’m very happy to not have a car. There is a kind of freedom that comes with having no responsibility for a two- to three-ton gas-guzzling hunk of metal. But, you do lose the freedom of having a few extra minutes to apply that lipstick. If you do apply that lipstick in a hurry, you end up running to catch your train and barely catch it before it leaves. Not that I did that yesterday. But, I did. Dan has quickly learned that he must tell me exactly when I must be ready in order to leave on time to catch the train. We live about two blocks from the train station, but that doesn’t mean the train will wait for you. Sometimes, it’s a matter of waiting ten minutes for the next. But, last night, it would have been an hour and we had dinner plans. We are definitely at the mercy of the train schedule. But, it teaches you punctuality–something I used to have in radio but have since begun to slack on.
All in all, it was a wonderful birthday. I received many email and facebook birthday wishes. I got a card from my mother in the mail today (Saturday). Vielen dank, everyone.